Subscribe to our e-newsletter mailing list to keep up with NCCCO news and industry headlines.


How to Test: Written Exams

Use "Certification Quick Links" above to review material unique to each certification, including Written Exam Outlines, Sample Test Questions, Study Materials, Load Charts, Practical Exam Outlines, and Recertification Requirements.


CCO written exams and recertification exams may be taken as either paper/pencil tests (PPT) at approved NCCCO written exam test sites or as computer-based tests (CBT) at approximately 300 PSI test centers across the country. The content of both test formats is identical.

See the appropriate sections below for instructions on how to apply for either paper/pencil tests or computer-based testing exams.

Candidates Requesting Testing Accommodations

Arrangements for persons with disabilities will be provided upon request, in conformance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Professional documentation in support of a request for accommodation must be submitted to NCCCO no later than four weeks prior to the scheduled test date. Please read the policy and obtain the testing accommodations request forms or contact CCO for further information.


Candidates desiring to sit for paper/paper written exam(s) should visit the Test Dates and Locations page to see a schedule of upcoming exams and then submit a completed Candidate Application form with the appropriate documentation to NCCCO.

Applications are due two weeks prior to the scheduled examination date. See below for example of application deadlines. Information about the specific locations of the Test Sites will be available approximately four weeks prior to the examination. Candidates eligible to sit for the examination will receive an admission letter approximately one week before the scheduled test administration date.

Submission of Application

To apply for paper/pencil exams, use the appropriate paper Candidate Application or apply online. The Candidate Application with the exam fees, as well as any correspondence and requests for information concerning the administration of CCO examinations, should be sent to:

NCCCO—Testing Services Department
1960 Bayshore Boulevard
Dunedin, FL 34698
Phone: 727-449-8525
Fax: 727-461-2746

Contact the Test Site Coordinator to confirm whether the application should be sent to the Test Site Coordinator or directly to NCCCO. Check your application to ensure that all information provided is accurate and complete. In addition to your completed application, make sure that you have enclosed the appropriate fees.

You may also submit your application and payment online for either paper/pencil tests or computer-based tests.

Follow the directions carefully when filling in the required information. Incomplete applications, incorrect payment, and/or inaccurate documentation will delay the process­ing and incur additional fees. This could result in NOT being able to sit for the examination(s).


Please note that all deadlines are UPON RECEIPT deadlines and that Candidates and Test Site Coordinators are solely responsible for making sure that complete and accurate applications reach NCCCO by the stated deadline.

PPT Examination Fees

For paper/pencil tests (PPT), the appropriate Written Exam fees must be enclosed with the Candidate Application. Checks, money orders, or credit cards (VISA, MasterCard, or American Express) may be used for payment. Do not send cash. Please do not staple the check or money order to the application form, but do include payment in the envelope with all of the other application materials.

For specific PPT exam fees, see the Exam Fees page.  

Other PPT Fees:

An additional $50 late fee will be charged if the application is late.

An additional $25 will be charged if a candidate:

An additional $30 fee will be charged if:

  • An application form is incomplete
  • Full payment is not received or a check is returned
  • A credit card cannot be processed for any reason
  • A candidate wants to add to (or change) the exams he/she plans to take after scheduling has been completed (in addition to the exam fee)

All application materials must be received at NCCCO’s office according to the sample test deadlines shown below.

Applications received after the main application dead­line—but at least four business days prior to the exam administration date—can be accepted for an additional $50 late fee. For example, for a test administration on a Saturday, late applications that arrive at NCCCO’s testing office by 5 p.m. (ET) on the Monday evening prior to the test will be accepted.

Candidate applications that arrive after that time cannot be accepted. Walk-in candidates cannot be accepted under any circumstances.

Length of Test Day

CCO written exams are carefully designed to provide a reliable and valid assessment of a candidate’s knowledge and skills. Time limits are carefully determined for each written exam to allow enough time for a prepared candidate to complete the exam and to provide for an efficient and successful administration of all exams to scheduled candidates on testing day.

To provide each candidate with a fair and standardized administration of the written examination(s), and to ensure the reliability and validity of the written examinations is maintained, it is not recommended that a candidate schedule written exams totaling more than six hours of testing time on the same day.

Rescheduling, Cancellations, and Withdrawals

Should a candidate be unable to sit for the examination, NCCCO must receive notification in writing no later than seven business days prior to the examination date. Candidate fees will be held up to one year. When the candidate reschedules, he/she will need to pay an additional $25 rescheduling fee.

Candidates who wish to reschedule their CCO Written Examination(s) must notify NCCCO and submit the necessary documentation and fees by the deadline for the rescheduled test date.

Candidates withdrawing or canceling after the deadline or not sitting for the examination will forfeit all application fees and will NOT receive a refund.

Emergency Cancellations or Withdrawals

ONLY the following situations will be accepted as grounds for emergency cancellations or withdrawals:

  • Called to work — supporting documentation required: letter from employer
  • Candidate illness — supporting documentation required: doctor’s note
  • Family death — supporting documentation required: death certificate or obituary notice

Requests for medical and personal emergency withdraw­als are handled by NCCCO’s Testing Services Department upon submission of a letter describing the situation. Full name, address, and Candidate ID and/or CCO Certification Number must be included along with the scheduled test date, site number, and supporting documentation indicated above.

NCCCO MUST receive written notification within seven business days after the sched­uled examination date or all application fees will be forfeited. Candidates will, however, be allowed to resched­ule for a future examination administration.

Candidates will NOT receive a refund if they decide they no longer wish to take the test.

Test Administration Schedule for PPT Exams

Paper/pencil CCO written certification examinations are available for administration on demand with at least four weeks' notice.

Application Deadlines

Tests can be administered at any time as long as the application deadlines are adhered to. Sample deadlines shown are for a test date of January 29.

Admission Letters

For paper/pencil exams, approximately one week before the scheduled test date, registered and eligible candidates approved to take CCO Written Examinations will receive an admission letter by mail. The admission let­ter contains information regarding the test center address, the reporting time, the examination(s) the candidate is registered for, and the materials the candidate needs to bring on the day of the test administration. This admission letter should be presented at the Test Site to gain admittance to the examination.

Identification at the Test Site

Candidates must bring valid photo identification to the test site on the day of the test administration. Candidates will be required to sign the test site roster upon entry to the testing area.

Acceptable forms of photo identification for paper/pencil tests are a current:

  • Passport
  • Government–issued driver’s license
  • Military identification card
  • U.S. government-issued alien registration card
  • Work identification

NOTE: Candidates without appropriate identification documents will NOT be admitted to take the CCO Written Examination(s) and all fees will be forfeited.

Materials to Bring to the Test Site

Each candidate must bring the following items to the test site:

  • Photo identification
  • Admission letter for the specific test date (recommended)
  • Two sharpened #2 pencils (to complete the examination answer sheet)
  • A good eraser

NOTE: No books, scratch paper, calculators, reference materials, beepers, cellular phones, or other personal items will be allowed in the examination room. Basic four-function calculators, which candidates are allowed to keep, are provided for use on the Specialty exams only.

Score Reporting

CCO Written Examinations are electronically scored off-site at NCCCO facilities. For this reason, it is important to complete the answer sheet according to the instructions provided by the Chief Examiner on the day of the exam. Candidates will receive credit only for answers recorded on the scannable answer sheet. Answers marked in the test booklet(s) will NOT be counted toward a candidate’s score.

All candidates will receive a score report of their performance. Examination results are mailed to candidates approximately 12 business days after the examination administration.


Candidates desiring to take their written exam(s) using the CBT option should visit the CBT Frequently Asked Questions page, which includes links to a directory of approximately 300 PSI test center locations, fees, step-by-step instructions, and an online application form.

Online applications may be completed and submitted at any time. Candidates should apply to take CBT exam(s) as soon as possible, but no later than five business days before their preferred exam date. Please note that site availability is not guaranteed on the preferred exam date and availability can only be confirmed when scheduling the appointment.

After the candidate completes and submits the online application (with payment), the application will be processed within two business days. Candidates authorized for testing will receive a scheduling authorization email from PSI with specific instructions on how to schedule an examination appointment. For the fastest and most convenient test scheduling process, PSI recommends that candidates use the online scheduling service at www.goAMP.com. Candidates follow the onscreen step-by-step instructions to register for their examination(s).
Candidates may also call the number provided in the email to schedule the test(s) with PSI; the PSI customer service representative will do his/her best to select a test date and location convenient for the candidate. PSI will send an appointment confirmation email within 24 hours. 

The candidate must then go to the selected test center at the scheduled date and time; bring a valid photo ID and the authorization email, but be aware that materials such as cell phones, calculators, hats, coats, and bags are not permitted in the test room. Test results are available immediately.

CBT Examination Fees

Candidates must pay the appropriate CBT Written Exam fees when they apply online. A credit card (VISA, MasterCard, or American Express) must be used to pay online. CBT exam payments are valid for one year. If the candidate does not schedule and test within 12 months, he/she forfeits the fees; this does not, however, affect the specified deadline(s) for certification or recertification.

For CBT exam fees for each CCO program, see the Exam Fees page.

Other CBT Fees:

An additional $25 will be charged if a candidate:

  • Needs a replacement certification card or score report

An additional $30 fee will be charged if:

  • An application form is incomplete (e.g., name misspelled or does not match name on valid photo ID)
  • A credit card cannot be processed for any reason
  • Any changes are requested after submitting the application

NOTE: After the candidate has scheduled his/her appointment with PSI, no changes can be made (adding exams, changing exams, etc.). If the name for the scheduled appointment does not match that on the photo ID presented, all fees will be forfeited.

Rescheduling, Cancellation, or Withdrawal

CBT candidates may cancel and reschedule an examination appointment without forfeiting their fees if their cancellation notice is received at least 24 hours before the scheduled examination date. Candidates will NOT receive a refund if they no longer wish to take the test.

NOTE: To reschedule an exam appointment, candidates may log into their PSI account or call PSI at 888-519-9901 to speak with PSI Candidates Services Department. A voicemail message is not an acceptable form of cancellation.

Missed Appointment or Late Cancellation

A candidate’s registration will be invalid, he/she will not be able to take the examination(s) as scheduled, and the examination fee(s) will be forfeited, if he/she:

  • Does not cancel the appointment more than 24 hours before the schedule examination date
  • Does not appear for his/her examination appointment
  • Arrives after examination start time
  • Does not present proper identification

Identification at the Test Site

Candidates must bring photo identification to the test site on the day of the test administration. Candidates will be required to sign the test site roster upon entry to the testing area.

Acceptable forms of photo identification for computer-based tests are a current:

  • Passport
  • U.S. government– or state-issued driver’s license
  • Military identification card
  • U.S. government–issued alien registration card

NOTE: Candidates without appropriate identification documents will NOT be admitted to take the CCO Written Examination(s) and all fees will be forfeited. Work identification is NOT acceptable for computer-based testing centers.

Materials to Bring to the Test Site

Each candidate must bring the following items to the test site:

  • Valid photo identification
  • Confirmation email from PSI (recommended)

NOTE: No books, scratch paper, calculators, reference materials, beepers, cellular phones, or other personal items will be allowed in the examination room. A basic four-function calculator is provided on-screen for the Specialty exams only.

Score Reporting

CBT candidates receive their test results immediately following their exams and should retain these score reports for their records.


Test Security

For the purpose of test security, candidates who sit for CCO examination(s) acknowledge that they understand the following:

  • This examination is the exclusive property of NCCCO.
  • This examination and the questions contained therein are protected by federal copyright law.
  • No part of the examination(s) may be copied or reproduced in part or whole by any means whatsoever, including memorization.
  • Theft or attempted theft of an examination booklet or any of its pages is punishable as a felony.
  • While at the examination site, candidates are considered professionals and shall be treated as such. In turn, candidates must conduct themselves in a professional manner at all times. While at the site, they shall not use words or take actions that are vulgar, obscene, libelous, or that would denigrate the staff or other candidates.
  • No conversing or any other form of communication among the candidates is permitted once they enter the examination area.
  • No smoking, eating, or drinking is allowed at the examination site.
  • No guests, visitors, or family members are allowed in the testing room or reception areas.
  • Candidate participation in any irregularity occurring during the examination, such as giving or obtaining unauthorized information or aid, as evidenced by observation or subsequent statistical analysis, may be sufficient cause to terminate participation, invalidate the results of the examination, or other appropriate remedy.
  • Candidates verify that they have successfully met the physical/medical requirements and are eligible to take this examination. If at any time it is confirmed that a candidate has not met all the requirements, the candidate will no longer be eligible for certification.
  • A candidate’s signature on the answer sheet or roster for the administration of the examination confirms that the candidate has read and understands the above statements.

Candidate Question Comment Forms

Candidates may comment on the examination(s) as a whole or on specific items within an examination by writing their comments on the Candidate Question Comment Form. These comments should be accompanied by the candidate’s name (which is optional), the specific examination and question referred to, the site code, and the test date. Examination comments are reviewed by NCCCO content experts on a regular basis.

Computer-based testing candidates may provide comments for any question by clicking on the “Comments” button to the left of the Time button. This opens a dialogue box where candidates may enter comments.

NOTE: Only comments completed on the Candidate Question Comment Form or provided during the computer-based examination at the Test Site will be considered for review.


Test Scoring

CCO Written Examinations are criterion-referenced examinations; i.e., the passing score is set beforehand, and candidate performance on the examination is not compared to the performance of others taking the examination. In a criterion-referenced examination, a candidate must obtain a score equal to or higher than a predetermined passing score to pass the test. The passing scores represent absolute standards and are determined by panels of NCCCO content experts using a psychometrically accepted standard-setting methodology.

In reporting the examination results to candidates, statistical procedures are used to convert raw scores (i.e., the number of test questions answered correctly) to scaled scores, which are equivalent for all administrations of the examination(s). The scaled score is not a number-answered-correctly score.

Candidate results are reported as a scaled score, with a score of 70 representing the minimum passing score for this test.

Candidate scores are never reported by telephone, email, or facsimile.

Hand Score Requests

Candidates not passing exam(s) may request from NCCCO a hand scoring of their answer sheets, provided the request is made in writing within three months of the test date.

Requests must be accompanied by a processing fee of $25 for one failed test score or $50 for two or more failed test scores per test administration. Requests should be mailed to:

NCCCO--Testing Services Department
1960 Bayshore Boulevard
Dunedin, FL 34698
Phone: (727) 449-8525
Fax (727) 461-2746

In the event that the hand scoring of a failing candidate’s answer sheet results in a passing score, the fee(s) will be refunded in full.

Retaking the Examination(s)

Candidates who fail an examination(s) may retake the examination(s). Candidates will need to reapply and pay all corresponding fees. CBT candidates may reapply at any time after taking their exam(s); however, the new authorization email will be delayed pending the receipt of the exam results from PSI, which normally takes approximately 72 hours.

Information Release Policy

NCCCO releases information pertaining to individuals who have successfully passed one or more NCCCO examinations according to its Information Release Policy.